Blues vs Cambridgeshire CCC - match report (aka French's Findings)

Saturday 23 April 2016

After the frustration of three rained-off matches, the Blues finally got their season underway against a strong Cambridgeshire side. Having been inserted on a cold morning, the Blues soon found themselves in trouble with opening batsman Jonathan French and skipper Jamie Abbott dismissed inside the first three overs by the impressive David Sayer. With the side wobbling at 14-2, Darshan Chohan (60) and Tom Colverd (12) steadied the ship before Colverd was taken low at second slip driving away from his body.
This brought the grumpiest man in CUCC, Angus Dalgleish, to the wicket. Displaying poise and confidence, he and Chohan compiled an excellent partnership of 84 for the 4th wicket. Opening batsman Chohan had made a strong start to his innings, putting away the bad ball with his customary flair and panache while rotating the strike well by running the ball down to third-man. A hard winter’s work on his technique with coach Chris Scott seemed to have paid off with his large front pad being untroubled throughout. Indeed, in an exclusive changing room interview, he said “The most satisfying thing about my innings was that I didn’t get hit on the pad until I had passed 50”.
With off-spinners operating for Cambridgeshire from both ends, Dalgleish put pressure back onto the visiting side, pushing the field back with strong shots off both front and back foot. He and Chohan restored health to the innings until Dalgleish ran past one to be stumped, his dismissal a reflection of his positive batting. It was here that the Blues’ innings faltered somewhat, with only 18 runs being added in the following 8 overs with Chohan departing leaving the score at 140-5 in the 41st over. Manoeuvring the ball well, Ali Dewhurst (17) and Patrick Tice (20*) aimed to add impetus to the innings. With contributions from those down the order, the Blues reached a competitive, if below par, score of 194-8 off 50 overs.
Knowing that a good start was needed, eyes were focused on the opening pair of Alex Waghorn and Sam Jelley. Having been mentioned in a tweet by the esteemed Twitter account of old school RGS Guildford, the pressure was really on these two. They perhaps displayed nerves as a result of this with neither quite being able to find the consistency they would normally achieve early on. Jelley, in particular, was finding it difficult to control the in-swing that he occasionally gained when he held the ball seam-up, delivering a succession of both off-side and leg-side wides. Having switched to a cross-seam grip, however, he put opener Ben Bryant (6) under pressure with some accurate bowling until Bryant looked to pull a ball that was slightly too full for the shot to get a top-edge to Chohan at mid-wicket.
Waghorn then, as they say in cricketing circles, “joined the party”, bowling a fine away-swinging delivery to find the outside edge of Spears on his second ball. After an inspired bowling change, left-arm tweaker Rory Sale got in the act, sliding one on with the arm to trap Richer lbw after an aggressive 28. Richer now joins the large and growing list of batsmen to have been defeated by the consistent lack of turn on offer from Sale.
After Drew Brierley chipped Waghorn to mid-wicket in the following over, the game was in the balance with Cambridgeshire at 53-4 in the ninth over. Veteran batsman Ben Smith (18,777 first-class runs at an average of 39.86 and a highest score of 204 for anyone who’s interested) showed his quality, seemingly taking no risks with his strokes while putting the bad ball away with ease. Smith was looking in control during a fifth-wicket partnership of 48 until leg-spinner Oli Taylor trapped Lambert (12) lbw. The game was intriguingly poised at 109-5 with Smith (32*) and Bruce (5*) at the crease until rain forced the players off. With the rain persistent, the umpires took the quick and wise decision to call a day on the cricket, leaving the result as a somewhat unsatisfactory abandonment.
There were many positive for the Blues to take from this game, such as the gutsy batting effort to get a competitive score on the board and the impressive bowling effort. Equally though, there were things to learn and take forward into the rest of the season which will be crucial in the pursuit of Varsity success.

5 things we learnt from today:

1. Chris Scott is in favour of a return to the old-school system of senior players choosing one of the junior players as their “fag”. Skipper Jamie Abbott refused to comment.
2. Chris Scott is not in favour of shouts of “Keep going” to the batsmen.
3. RGS Guildford never taught French or Jelley how to run.
4. It’s never too early to bowl a spinner.
5. Mrs Dalgleish and Mr Sale are always welcome at Fenner’s

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